Team USA Readies For Rio With Track And Field Test Event

By Brianna Tammaro | May 18, 2016, 9 p.m. (ET)

The opportunity to line up lane-by-lane or on the field at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will present itself for U.S. athletes in just four short months with the exception of nine U.S. athletes. The select few will be the first Paralympic athletes to compete on the new Mondo track for the Rio 2016 Athletics Test Event, May 18-21. Doubling as an IPC Athletics Grand Prix, over 300 athletes from 23 countries will set the stage ahead of the biggest show of all this summer: the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Find out more about the U.S. athletes who will compete at the Rio Test Event this week:

Mikey Brannigan

In only his second year on the Paralympic scene, Mikey Brannigan (East Northport, New York) has made his presence known in the T20 class. The 20-year-old won his first world title in the 1,500-meters followed by a silver medal in the 5,000 at October’s 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. He’s coming off setting two world records in a span of a week in April, clocking a 3:51.35 in the 1,500 at the University of California-San Diego Triton Invitational and 14:33.58 in the 5,000 at the Penn Relays. 

Jeremy Campbell

The F44 field for discus has been dominated since 2008 by three-time Paralympic and two-time world champion Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas). The first man to throw over 60 meters in a Paralympic event, Campbell has had competition this year from his U.S. teammate, David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) who recently broke Campbell’s world record mark of 63.46 with his throw of 63.61 at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona last week. He’ll look to re-write his name in the record books in Rio and capture his third-consecutive Paralympic gold.

Lex Gillette
Lex Gillette
Lex Gillette is a strong contender to win his first Paralympic gold this summer in the men’s T11 long jump. The three-time Paralympic silver medalist from Raleigh, North Carolina defended his world title in October. Gillette, the world record holder in the event (6.73) has won every long jump event he has competed in over the past three years and hopes to continue the winning streak all the way through Rio.

Josiah Jamison

Josiah Jamison (Vance, South Carolina) won gold at his first Paralympic Games in 2008 in the men’s T12 100 and has continued to have a successful career. In 2015, Jamison won gold in the followed by silver in the 200 at the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. The three-time world medalist also took home silver in the 100 at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto.

Angela Madsen

It didn’t take long for U.S. Marine Corps veteran Angela Madsen to make the successful transition from rowing to track and field. Four years after competing for Team USA in rowing at the 2008 Paralympic Games, she won her first Paralympic medal in the women’s F54/55/56 shot put at the 2012 Games. The Long Beach, California native finished seventh in the event and eighth in javelin at the 2015 world championships. The world record holder in the F56 shot put also took gold and silver in the javelin and shot put, respectively.

Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt

Since 2001, Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt has excelled as a visually-impaired long distance runner, running fourteen marathons and competing for Team USA at two world championships. At 2015 worlds, Mosquera-Schmidt (New York, New York) set a personal best in the women’s T11 1,500, taking fourth in a time of 5:00.31. After winning national titles in the 800 and 1,500, she came from behind at Parapan Ams in the 1500 to finish fourth. She’ll aim to make her first U.S. Paralympic Team this summer. 

Jeff Skiba

A three-time Paralympian, Jeff Skiba (San Diego, California) knows what it takes to compete on the world’s highest level. His first international medal came in 2002 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lille, France where he won gold in the T44 high jump. Fourteen years and four Paralympic medals later, Skiba is a veteran. In 2008, he became the first Paralympic athlete to clear the seven-foot mark in high jump. In 2015, he won his latest hardware at world championships, battling to bronze after participating in back-to-back competitions with javelin and high jump. 

Roderick Townsend

It’s been quite a year for Paralympic newcomer Roderick Townsend of Stockton, California. First classified at the 2015 Desert Challenge Games in May, the 23-year-old has triumphed in the men’s T46 class, winning national, Parapan American and world titles in the high jump. He also took home silver medals in the long jump, triple jump and 4x100 at world championships. Townsend is also the world record holder in the high jump with a 2.12 set at the Parapan American Games in Toronto.

Michael Wishnia

After picking up the sport in 2014, Michael Wishnia (Livingston, New Jersey) has emerged as one of the up-and-coming newcomers for Team USA. The retired Marine won back-to-back national titles in shot put in 2014 and 2015 followed by a silver medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games. At his first world championships, Wishnia finished fifth in the men’s 57 class and hopes to return to Rio for his first Paralympic Games in September.